LRT fare hike petition still under review: DOTr

By EJ Roque

March 6, 2019, 6:33 pm

MANILA -- The petition for fare hike by the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 is still being reviewed by the government, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said Wednesday.

"Meron po kasi tayong proseso sa anumang pagtataas ng kahit na anong fare sa ating -- kahit na anong mode of transportation (We follow a process in raising fares, whatever mode of transportation it may be),” Batan said in the weekly economic briefing in Malacañang.

So, iyan po ay ongoing ngayon at as soon as magkaroon tayo ng -- maiusad natin iyong proseso na nakatakda po sa batas ay aaksiyunan po iyang application for fare hike na iyan (that is ongoing for now and as soon as the process progresses according to the law it will be acted upon)," he added.

Batan said the DOTr is set to hold public consultations to hear the sentiments of stakeholders, including LRT riders, on how the possible fare hike may affect them.

He added that another option being considered is for the government to subsidize the fare deficit instead of passing it on to passengers through a fare hike.

"Batid naman po natin na bawat taas po sa pasahe ay nakakaapekto po sa almost more than half a million na ridership po ng LRT1 at iyon po iyang dahilan kung bakit mabusisi po nating pinag-aralan iyang application na iyan (We are aware that every raise in fare hikes affects the almost more than half a million ridership of LRT1 and that is the reason why the application is being thoroughly reviewed)," he explained.

Batan said they are also looking at a middle-ground where the government will partially subsidize the fare deficit and partially pass it on to passengers.

"Hindi rin po siya either/or. Puwede rin pong kombinasyon ng pagpasa po ng portion noong fares, or puwede rin pong combined with a subsidy (It's not necessarily either/or. It may be a combination of passing a portion of it through fares and combined with a subsidy)," he said.

The LRMC has asked for fare hike of about PHP5 to PHP7, saying the increase is needed to maintain the LRT’s good service.

At present, LRT fares range from PHP15 to PHP30 for Line 1’s 20 stations from Baclaran in Parañaque to Roosevelt in Quezon City.

If granted by the DOTr, the LRT’s new minimum fare would be PHP18 and the maximum fare is PHP37. (PNA)